By Ris Twigg
Obetz village officials announced plans for a new commercial district annexation during a public hearing on Jan. 27.
About 13.8 acres from eight parcels of land are set to be annexed into Obetz next month as part of a larger e-commerce development area. The total planned district area is roughly 43 acres from 14 parcels, located at the intersections of Toy Road, Alum Creek Drive and Bixby Road.
“Not all of these parcels are currently in the process of being annexed,” said Stacey Boumis, director of Obetz’s community services department. “But when I looked at what future land use should be, I wasn’t just considering the 13.8 acres. We were looking at this bigger 42.75 acres.”
Commercial, office and distribution were the recommended uses for the entire 42.75 acres of land, according to Boumis. She said these first eight soon-to-be-annexed parcels will be split into two sub-areas.
The first consists of 8.8 acres that will serve as a fueling station with a convenience store and fast food. The second subarea has just five acres that will house Sheetz, also a convenience store and fast food option.
“I think ideally the (planned district) is going to be developed and built for the employees in the e-commerce district of Obetz,” said Obetz Village Administrator Rod Davisson. “We look at what kind of services those folks need, and a lot of it is convenience services. We want to make sure they have those amenities available.”
Developers are also considering hotel options to serve companies whose headquarters may be located in other states but have employees traveling to Obetz for business.
More than 20,000 people work at one of Obetz’s 300 employers. E-commerce — the online buying and selling of goods — is one of Obetz’s top industries, with companies such as Amazon, Zulily, Cardinal Health and more leading the pack when it comes to employment numbers, according to a 2018 auditor’s report.
The 2018 report also states Obetz’s current e-commerce parks are “nearing capacity, with space for only three major new projects” and recommended annexing additional land in 2020 to keep up with the area’s rapidly expanding e-commerce development.
The 14 parcels are currently occupied by landowners, eight of which approached the county asking for approval to be annexed into Obetz, Davisson said. Currently, the land is located in Madison Township as part of the Hamilton Local School District.
The preliminary development plan for the planned commercial district was heard during Planning and Zoning Commission meetings and approved at the Dec. 11 meeting, Boumis said.
County commissioners already penned their approval for the annexation of the 13.8 acres. Because of a 60-day waiting period post-commissioner approval, Obetz Village Council cannot vote on accepting the annexation until its Feb. 24 meeting.
“The beauty in our process is that there is flexibility between the preliminary development plan and the final development stage,” Boumis said. “So there will be a few tweaks.”